From: Biniam Tekle (email@example.com)
Date: Thu May 06 2010 - 09:10:34 EDT
US urges quick solutions before Sudan referendum
(AFP) – May 05, 2010
WASHINGTON — US envoy Scott Gration is telling the Sudanese there "is no
time to waste" to solve all the problems before a 2011 referendum that could
split Sudan into two states, officials said Wednesday.
Gration was this week meeting Sudanese government leaders in the capital
Khartoum and leaders in the autonomous south about how to act quickly to
shore up the fragile 2005 north-south Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).
"That's Scott's message in the region this week. We face a very steep hill
towards the referendum in January," State Department spokesman Philip
Crowley told reporters.
"And should the south vote to secede, it's only six months from that point
to where you have the emergence of a new country," Crowley said.
"So there's no time to waste. There's a lot of very complex and important
issues that have to be resolved. Border demarcation... how to resolve and
share energy resources within Sudan," he said.
Under the CPA, the Sudanese are set to hold a referendum in January on
whether the mainly Christian and animists in the south will remain part of
Sudan, which is dominated by the majority Arabs and Muslims in the north.
"We have to be prepared for a vote that will lead to a new country in
January 2011," Crowley said. "That is a very distinct possibility."
The Sudanese are also set to hold a referendum next year on the status of
the contested oil-rich region of Abyei.
Gration spent Monday and Tuesday in Khartoum for talks with the government
of Omar al-Beshir, who was re-elected president in last month's multi-party
polls, the first in 24 years.
Beshir faces an international arrest warrant on war crimes charges.
The credibility of the election was undermined by opposition boycotts,
allegations of fraud and questions from international monitors about
Gration was in Juba on Wednesday to consult the Sudan People?s Liberation
Movement (SPLM) and the southern Sudanese government.
On the last leg of a trip ending May 9, Gration will leave Friday for Addis
Ababa, Ethiopia to participate in African Union meetings on Sudan.
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